It's my opinion that all of the major religions are based on the idea of the soul. That religions are simply a means of explaining what happens to your soul when you die. That denouncing the idea of the soul automatically denounces all the subsequent religions. Do you agree or disagree?

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I totally agree. I also think that as soon as the idea of a soul or spirit that inhabits things came about, religion started.

Even today, in so-called 'primitive' or aborigial cultures, it is believed that spirits inhabit, say, trees, rivers, animals and so on. From there it is a small step to come to the idea that people have souls and that these persist beyond death.

I have this hypothesis that dreaming may have played a key role here. A primitive hominid, a neanderthal, for example, dreaming about a deceased member of its tribe could easily come to the conclusion that he was in contact with that person's spirit. And if that dream's content was anything coherent, like a warning or advice of some kind, you'd quickly have the fist shaman. From there on its just human (hominid?) nature to use this to establish power within the community.

Towers...Yes, also hinduism is about the reincarnation of the soul...  I think religion is also to explain the unexplainable... as always anything that is supernatural is simply something science can't explain yet. I think the word SUPERNATURAL itself should be challenged. To me it is oxymoronical because... anything we can perceive in the natural universe is a part of the natural universe.

The thing to me that I notice is that many people are fine with me arguing the idea of God... but once I argue the idea of the soul they say... "OH, well, I like to believe that energy never dies, it just changes form." And my response is.. listen to what you just said.. "YOU LIKE TO BELIEVE". People can't let go of this idea... to me saying "energy never dies" "we're all stardust" etc...can be compared to how religions constantly try and alter their beliefs to accommodate the idea of god... Oh, The earth isn't the center of the universe? God created the universe! Oh there was a big bang? God created that!

It is as you point out: we look for explanations for phenomena we don't understand. Since we don't understand these things (yet), our explanation that these phenomena are 'supernatural' is automatically correct: don't know what lightning is? Well, has to be Thor then, or do you have anything better?

Key of being atheist is being OK with not (yet) understanding everything.

I agree that it came first.  But the problem is that you are looking at the soul as being the root of a plant.  Kill the root and you kill the plant.  Instead, you have to see Religion as an exoskeleton rather than as a the soul being a root of a plant.  Religion guards the soul now.  Furthermore religion is the means through which most humans access moral thinking.  The soul is very protected, and you can't get to the soul without dealing with religion first.

In the chat I shared that religion developed because people perceived supernatural realities.  The first was a soul, but it is the perceived reality that is the root of religion, rather than the soul as a stand-alone concept.  The first perceived reality was a soul, but that perceived reality gave way to the search for more supernatural realities.  The core of religion is the supernatural.

Religion does protect the soul... i've described it as a wrapping paper in the past and the soul is the present inside. However, I do believe that arguing for the soul automatically denounces any religions that are based on the soul. I think the idea of the soul blew up because of humanity's natural fear of death. And if we are HONEST about that. Then we can have a proper discussion. Have you ever seen "The invention of lying". Ricky Gervais. Hilarious movie!!! And touches on my point of where this lie of religion came from...

I think the same arguments apply:

You can't prove god doesn't exist. You can't prove souls don't exist.

That's no reason to believe these things do exist.

I agree it denounces it, but the problem is that the denunciation is powerless because other reasons to believe in religion reinforce it.  I don't think it is an effective means to combat belief in the afterlife, because attacking the core of a persons belief tends to enact defense mechanisms, and cause them to just guard it more even if that guarding is done through irrational means.

To me.. it seems like pussy footing around the REAL topic... Which in my experience is never the best way to argue something.

Isn't the reason we argue against religion is a quest for truth? And if so.. wouldn't it be more truthful to go to the source?

I see why you see it that way. I contend that you are misidentifying the core.  The core is belief in the supernatural, not belief in an afterlife.  Religion can and has existed without belief in an afterlife.

Supposing for the sake of understanding though, that your position that it is the core is true, it is not pussy-footing around.  The best way to argue something is with the most persuasive methods.  It requires strategy and tact.  The most direct route is not the most successful either in a military situation or an argument.  A person is best armed with the most direct route and you receive a barrage of their defenses.

However, you want to keep in mind, where to hit, and figure out when to best attack that.

I reject religion in a quest for the truth, so that is true for me.  However, I don't think that the most direct methods work with most people because people aren't rational.

A lot of atheists are unaware of this psychological phenomenon known as belief perseverance, and get very confused.

I am about to drop a wealth of information about it on you and anyone who wants it.  This links a number of journal articles, but if you just want to read short summaries, they show up first and then it links the articles.

Belief perseverance is a commonplace phenomenon that occurs in all areas of life where belief in something persists even when the position has lost all original reasons for it's credibility.

http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/Belief.Pers...

I think I understand what belief preserverance is by name. It makes sense that a world that was designed to accommodate certain ideas would foster and promote them. 

Can you agree though that if you could convince someone there were no souls that it would be suddenly very easy to convince them that there was no god?
I'd wonder if these beliefs could even be passed through genetics whether it was directly, not directly or maybe even through epigenetics...

Not sure.  Intelligence study is pretty divided on the nature vs nurture debate, and it is hard to determine if intelligence comes mostly from genetics or environment.  I just did some research on that last week actually.  I had been under the impression that it was primarily genetic, but it seems the evidence supports both being very actively involved in the development of intelligence.  Some say environment contributes more than genetics.  It is a bit confusing.

I agree it would.  However I contend that belief perseverance will make a direct attack on the soul have a very low success rate.

You have a better chance getting people to not believe in God than you do getting them to not believe in a soul because there is a degree of separation there.

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